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A Cross-Sectional Study of Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction During Pregnancy


Bulent Erol, MD, Section of Andrology, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, University of Istanbul, Cerrahi monoblok zemin kat Capa, Istanbul 34390, Turkey. Tel: 90-532-3526564; Fax: 90-212-5321059; E-mail:


Introduction.  Although women may undergo changes in sexual function during pregnancy, there are limited studies correlating possible sexual function changes to androgen blood levels during the pregnancy.

Aim.  To search for a possible correlation, we performed a cross-sectional observational study to assess sexual function scores and androgen blood levels of women during pregnancy.

Materials and Methods.  A total of 589 healthy pregnant women were recruited to the present cross-sectional study. Of these patients, 116 (19.6%), 220 (37.3%), and 253 (42.9%) were in their first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. They were evaluated with a detailed medical and sexual history, including IFSF questionnaire. In addition, maternal serum androgen levels (testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, free testosterone) were determined in each trimester during regular follow-ups.

Main Outcome Measures.  Assessment of Index of Female Sexual Function (IFSF) domains and serum androgen levels in each trimester.

Results.  The mean age of the three groups were similar (P > 0.05). Overall, total IFSF scores of women in the first and second trimesters were 21.4 ± 10.1 and 22.3 ± 10, respectively, while it was 15.9 ± 12.3 during the third trimester (P < 0.05). The most common sexual dysfunction symptom was diminished clitoral sensation, observed in 94.2% of the patients, followed by lack of libido in 92.6% and orgasmic disorder in 81%. No correlation was detected between total IFSF score and serum androgen levels.

Conclusion.  In this cross-sectional study, we noted lower sexual function scores in women in the third trimester of their pregnancies compared with those in their first two trimesters of pregnancy. These lower sexual function scores in the third trimester were not associated with lower androgen levels. We plan to perform a future prospective study to better assess both the change in sexual function and also its possible relation to androgen levels in pregnant women. Erol B, Sanli O, Korkmaz D, Seyhan A, Akman T, and Kadioglu A. A cross-sectional study of female sexual function and dysfunction during pregnancy. J Sex Med 2007;4:1381–1387.